EZServe has new competition! 2008-07-12T18:39:33+00:00

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  • Anonymous
    Post count: 73
    #40004 |

    I just got an email from Smarthome advertising the upcoming availability of their Netlinc. It’s pictured prominently with an iPhone leaning up against it (showing a not so bad looking screen of their web interface). I dug around a little and found a demo video of a guy controlling some individual lights, and a scene, from his iPhone over the wifi network in his office.

    I have an iPhone myself, and have found the 2.0 update, and new applications, VERY nice. I would love to be able to control and configure my home automation network from my device, either through an actual application, or via a user-friendly web interface.

    Looks to me like the interface of the Netlinc may be pretty nice. For $120, I would consider giving it a shot…

    So Simplehome… When is your answer coming out? I’d expect it to be in the form of an update to the EZSrve.

    Frankly, the device is a great device… but the interface is lacking. It’s simply not mature yet, and is not very intuitive. Too many pulldown menus, when there should be lists, and too much configuration stuff when you’re not trying to configure things.

    It looks like the Netlinc will support the Insteon thermostats from the word ‘go’. When will this support be added to the EZSrve?

    There has already been mention of a mobile page for the EZSrve, but when will it be available? (also – be SURE it works over non 3G connections for non 3G phones when not on a wifi network. The current page loads too slow causing the 5 second reload to interrupt the loading of the page… often times rendering it unusable.)

    Is there any chance of an actual application for iPhone/iPod/Windows Mobile devices? I would love something like that… particularly with the ability to assign it an IP to access the EZSrve when I’m on my home wifi, and a public IP to access it when I’m not at home. (just a hint… a good web interface will more than suffice)

    Anonymous
    Post count: 2

    Bought EZSrve Monday last week and 2 days later got the same email about Netlink. Now I’m deciding what to do: go ahead with EZSrve or return it and buy Netlink.
    A response to your posting from Simplehomenet can be helpful.

    Anonymous
    Post count: 408

    So Simplehome… When is your answer coming out? I’d expect it to be in the form of an update to the EZSrve.

    Our answer is multi part. The first is version 1.53, which is going to final testing tomorrow. We believe this release will provide us what we believe to be the best answer for link management. The biggest feature will be the ability to craft or alter an XML file, and then press one button. The EZSrve will then scroll through and configure the ENTIRE Insteon network to match the XML file.
    The above is pretty “techie”, targeted towards installers and hobbyists.

    See below for more parts.

    Frankly, the device is a great device… but the interface is lacking. It’s simply not mature yet, and is not very intuitive. Too many pulldown menus, when there should be lists, and too much configuration stuff when you’re not trying to configure things.

    Yeah, we agree. The UI is techie. We are currently working on an API version 2.0, and with it a user interface that will wow users – it is targeted to be much more user friendly, with faster response times.

    It looks like the Netlinc will support the Insteon thermostats from the word ‘go’. When will this support be added to the EZSrve?

    The support is there in regards to adding the device, and setting via the XML timers and macros. We need to add the support to the web interface. We felt we needed solid link management (version 1.53), the thermostat is the next item on our list, so development would start tomorrow.

    There has already been mention of a mobile page for the EZSrve, but when will it be available? (also – be SURE it works over non 3G connections for non 3G phones when not on a wifi network. The current page loads too slow causing the 5 second reload to interrupt the loading of the page… often times rendering it unusable.)

    We have some sketches, and we are targeting a VERY simple user interface. I agree – non 3G, low graphics, information, so it would work on a cell phone – black berry, etc…

    Is there any chance of an actual application for iPhone/iPod/Windows Mobile devices? I would love something like that… particularly with the ability to assign it an IP to access the EZSrve when I’m on my home wifi, and a public IP to access it when I’m not at home. (just a hint… a good web interface will more than suffice)

    We have had queries about this – this is in the pipeline, as well as some developers are investigating this. I can’t make any commitments on time line yet.

    The biggest difference we see between the two devices is that they are different classes. Here are some differences where the EZSrve excels.

    The Netlinc has 128K memory for web pages, we have 2MB.
    The Netlinc has timers, we have timers and macros.
    The Netlinc limits to 15 areas / rooms, we limit to 255.
    The Netlinc processor is less capable than the EZSrve.

    So, the biggest difference is hardware, and what it allows – which explains the price difference. The Netlinc seems like it would be a good device to connect to PC software such as Homeseer, Powerhome, Indigo, etc… It seems like there would be limitations as a standalone controller such as the EZSrve or the ISY.

    Anonymous
    Post count: 73

    Paul,

    Thanks for the reply! Lots of good info. I hope to see 1.53 soon, and all the goodies in the pipeline. Hopefully I’ll be getting at least one thermostat (dual level controls here) in the relatively near future. Getting home to a warm house blows.

    Will the thermostat support including being able to poll the device for current temperature? I’d like to be able to log into the EZSrve and check temperatures… I think it could help me decide when to schedule temperature changes and such.

    Again, can’t wait to see the new goodies. From what it sounds like, the EZSrve has more promise than the Netlinc as a stand alone device. A stand alone device is what I want running my HA network.

    Thanks again!

    M@

    Anonymous
    Post count: 2

    Paul,
    Thanks. A quick and informative response!

    However…

    After playing a few days with EZSrve a can clearly see that the biggest challenge you have is the UI.
    It’s not just “techie”! I’m sorry to say it, but it was not designed and implemented by a professional programmer; at least not one with appropriate knowledge and experience.

    In the beginning, I thought that there is something can be done to improve it, make it usable. Unfortunately, the more I looked, the more I realized that only complete re-design (and rewrite) can fix it. Of course, it’s sizeable task and can be a big challenge.

    So why not to take advantages of the community by making it an Open Source project? I see a big advantage here. Do you?

    Regards,
    VIA101

    Anonymous
    Post count: 408

    @via101 wrote:

    Paul,
    Thanks. A quick and informative response!

    However…

    After playing a few days with EZSrve a can clearly see that the biggest challenge you have is the UI.
    It’s not just “techie”! I’m sorry to say it, but it was not designed and implemented by a professional programmer; at least not one with appropriate knowledge and experience.

    In the beginning, I thought that there is something can be done to improve it, make it usable. Unfortunately, the more I looked, the more I realized that only complete re-design (and rewrite) can fix it. Of course, it’s sizeable task and can be a big challenge.

    So why not to take advantages of the community by making it an Open Source project? I see a big advantage here. Do you?

    Regards,
    VIA101

    Well, I do agree the UI leaves something to be desired, but of course I am not going to say it is all bad 🙂

    We at SHN DEFINITELY agree that the new UI must be from scratch. If you look at the release notes for the existing web interface, there is going to be device support, a mobile page, and more basic enhancements. Version 2.00 will be a completely new UI, commercially developed by us. We are going to take the comments / mistakes and have a solid and robust UI.

    That said, is there room for an open source project? yes. We released the SHN utility as open source, in the hopes of getting it where it needs to be. We have had a couple developers contribute, and that was it. So, if there is enough interest in an open source project, we will be happy to support it, and contribute as a member. I would be happy to create a forum link on our site and start a project on sourceforge. If there are 2-3 developers interested in putting in some time, I think we have enough to start. I would think a JAVA, AJAX, or non-OS specific platform would be a great start.

    So, do we have 2-3 developers interested?

    Anonymous
    Post count: 73

    Now Insteon says they’ll have a motion sensor out soon.

    I’ll definitely want to get one or two of those!

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